An AusMAT Clinical Team Leader’s Experience
On the 20th February 2016 Tropical Cyclone (TC) Winston made landfall over Fiji and her surrounding islands. As a category 5 storm, TC Winston rated as the second strongest TC (by wind speed) in history, with Super Typhoon (ST) Haiyan which hit the Philippines in 2013 being the first. With winds speeds approaching 300km/hr, TC Winston damaged or destroyed 55,000 homes with 350,000 people being affected and 44 people killed.
On the 23rd February 2016 a small needs assessment Australian Medical Assistance Team (AusMAT) ‘Team Alpha’ from the National Critical Care Trauma and Response Centre (NCCTRC) at the Royal Darwin Hospital was deployed to Fiji, with ‘Team Bravo’ standing up and ultimately deployed on the 27th February 2016. This deployment would turn out to be a new model for humanitarian assistance provided by the NCCTRC and AusMAT, not utilising the ‘traditional’ field hospital footprint as was established in the Philippines. The nature of this deployment required a flexible, hub-and-spoke model of mobile teams, in multiple locations, providing outreach health care to those people worst affected as well as administrative and logistical input to the Fijian health system.
As part of Team Bravo, I was Clinical Team Leader of a small, 4 person team deployed to Ovalau Island, the six largest island in Fiji to the east and forms part of the Lomaiviti Archipelago. Ovalau has a population of approximately 9000 people and was significantly impacted by TC Winston. The local Doctor had arrived the day before the TC and despite his new posting, had already formulated a comprehensive plan to provide care to all of the villages located on Ovalau and surrounding islands. The AusmAT mission was to embed with his team and in collaboration, assist him in successfully completing the plan to provide outreach health care to those people affected by the cyclone on Ovalau and surrounding islands.
[/twocol_one] [twocol_one_last]About the Speaker
Dan is currently the Operations Lead Nurse for SAAS MedSTAR Emergency Medical Retrieval. His background is in emergency and trauma nursing working at both the Lyell McEwin Hospital and Royal Adelaide Hospital Emergency Departments. He is also a reservist with the Royal Australian Air Force, No.3 Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron as a member of the Military Critical Care Aeromedical Evacuation team and has teaching responsibilities with James Cook University, specifically the Post Graduate Certificate in Aeromedical Retrieval and the South Australian Major Incident Medical Management and Support course faculty.
Further, he is also an Australian Medical Assistance Team (AusMAT) team member with deployments to Banda Aceh post the Boxing Day Tsunami and more recently to Fiji post Tropical Cyclone Winston as a Clinical Team Leader. In his spare time he is married and has a 3 year old little boy….